Welcome to Game 3 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final between the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Lightning are looking to take a 3-0 lead in the best-of-7 series after a 4-1 victory in Game 2 on Wednesday. Teams that win the first two games in a best-of-7 Final hold an all-time series record of 46-5 (.902).
The Canadiens are playing their first Stanley Cup Final game at home since June 9, 1993 when they played at the Montreal Forum and clinched their 24th Stanley Cup championship with a Game 5 win against the Los Angeles Kings.
It should be a wild scene inside and outside Bell Centre and NHL.com Senior Director of Editorial Shawn P. Roarke is there to provide all the sights, sounds and action from Game 3.
Welcome to the first Stanley Cup Final game played in July!
It doesn’t feel like July here in Montreal. It’s a bit chilly (low 60s), overcast and windy, more like spring and the start of playoffs than summer and near the end.
Fans are already gathering in large numbers outside Bell Centre for the first Final game in Montreal in almost 30 years. The atmosphere is electric outside and it promises to be inside as well, even with capacity capped at under 4.000 fans by the Canadian government because of concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
Much is on the line in Game 3. Montreal needs a win to avoid facing elimination in Game 4 on Monday. Five teams have won a best-of-7 Final after losing the first two games, none since the 2011 Boston Bruins. Montreal is looking to do it for a third time, joining rallies completed in 1966 and 1971.
A further bit of good news can be found in the Canadiens’ record at home. The Canadiens had a 58-19 record in Stanley Cup Final games at the Montreal Forum, where they clinched 12 of their championships. They are 60-19 as the home team in Stanley Cup Final games since 1917-18, including a 23-5 record in the NHL expansion era (since 1967-68). This is the first Final game at the Bell Centre, which opened for the 1996-97 season.
As we get ready for Game 3, here is a primer from the NHL.com staff:
— Montreal needs to score first in Game 3 to gets its confidence going and the crowd behind it, says senior writer Dan Rosen in his 3 keys to the game.
— The Canadiens hope to get a bounce from the return of coach Dominique Ducharme, who is back from COVID-19 protocol and will coach his first game of the Final. Columnist Nicholas J. Cotsonika has the story.
— The Lightning have described Game 3 in Montreal as a “pinch-yourself moment.” Staff writer Tom Gulitti explains why the Lightning and their coach are eager to embrace the challenges that lie ahead.
— The Canadiens have been a resilient bunch throughout the playoffs and there is no panic in their room after the first two games, writes correspondent Sean Farrell
— Despite allowing two goals total in the first two games of the Final, Tampa Bay says it can be better defensively. Correspondent Corey Long explains.
— The fifth episode of “Quest for the Stanley Cup” debuted Friday. Here is a review from staff writer Amalie Benjamin.